John Lewis has started its six month countdown to the launch of its flagship Birmingham shop, which will open its doors in September and be the largest branch outside of London.
The 250,000 sq ft department store will be the anchor tenant of the new Grand Central retail development, which sits above the redeveloped New Street Station in the centre of the city. The Birmingham store will be the business’ first full-line department store to open in four years and represents a £35m investment by John Lewis in the city. Its size will be equivalent to 3.5 Birmingham City football pitches.
The retail giant will offer customers over 350,000 products from its full range and today the department store chain confirmed beauty brands to be stocked in John Lewis Birmingham include Liz Earle, Tom Ford, Origins, Laura Mercier, La Prairie and Elemis.
Recruitment for specialist roles is already underway but the majority of the 650 job roles that the new branch requires, will go live in May.
Head of Branch Lisa Williams, who is originally from Birmingham and currently manages the High Wycombe store, said:
“I’m really looking forward to being an active part of the local community and welcoming our customers to what will be a very special retail experience.”
There are already 5 key department stores in the Birmingham region: House of Fraser, Debenhams, Marks & Spencer, Selfridges and Harvey Nichols, so how will John Lewis stand out?
“It’s the partnership model,” Williams explains to Retail Gazette. “Yes it’s a competitive market in Birmingham, but while we’ll be part of a Big Six, being served by a co-owner is what will set us apart from the rest.”
“There will be an assortment of outlets that will cater to all tastes,” Williams continues. “We are aiming to bring the products to life for example with three dedicated beverage areas and demonstration areas in the Kitchenware department.”
Leader of Birmingham City Council, Sir Albert Bore added: “The scale of John Lewis’ investment in Birmingham demonstrates real commitment to the city and clear recognition of Birmingham’s growing role as a leading destination outside of the capital – for business, leisure, and tourism.”
Housed in a landmark four-storey building above the newly-redeveloped New Street Station, the busiest railway station outside of London, the shop will be one of the most conveniently located department stores in the country. Its station site also ensures that it’s ideally located for commuters to collect purchases via the British retailer’s Click and Collect service when going to and from the station.
The Birmingham branch will be the British retailer’s 45th in the UK. At an omni-channel retailing conference last month, John Lewis Boss Andy Street said that 60 would be the optimal number for UK coverage.